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Bush Addresses NATO, U.S. Military Transformation

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

NORFOLK, Va., Feb. 13, 2001 – President Bush spoke about NATO and the DoD top-down review during his Feb. 13 visit to this sprawling U.S. military installation.

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President George W. Bush tells service members that the United States will consult with its allies on technology, missile defense and diplomacy. He said NATO unity remains essential for peace. Photo by Jim Garamone

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Bush, standing in front of Allied Command, Atlantic -- the only NATO installation in the United States -- said it is because of NATO "there was no World War III."

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Army Gen. Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, accompanied the president. Army Gen. William Kernan, supreme allied commander, Atlantic, was host.

Bush said the alliance was successful because the countries stuck together through the Cold War. He called on the nations to continue to work together to guarantee economic prosperity, military security and freedom.

"While NATO is changing to meet new threats, the purpose of NATO remains permanent," he said. "As we have seen in the Balkans, together, united, we can deter the designs of aggression and spare the continent from the effects of ethnic hatred."

The president's message to U.S. allies is that America will cooperate in the work of peace and will consult with them about technology, diplomacy and missile defense. "In fighting wars and above all, in preventing wars, we must work as one," he said.

Bush also addressed future threats and changes to U.S. military thinking. "Eleven years after the Cold War, we're in a time of transition and testing," he said. "We must use this time well, we must seize this moment."

New threats face America and its allies, Bush said, homing on the dangers of weapons of mass destruction and the proliferation of the means to deliver them.

"The adversaries seeking to deliver these tools of terror are less predictable and more diverse," he said. "With advanced technology, we must confront the threats that come on a missile. With shared intelligence and enforcement, we must confront the threats that come in a shipping container or in a suitcase. We have no higher priority than the defense of our people against a terrorist attack."

America needs allies to succeed against the terrorist threat, Bush said. "We did not prevail together in the Cold War only to go our separate ways, pursuing separate plans, with separate technologies," he said.

Bush addressed the challenges before the American military. Next door to the NATO command is the U.S. Joint Forces Command, which is charting the way the U.S. military will fight in the future. Bush said the United States must advance the peace by using technology.

"We are witnessing a revolution in the technology of war," he said. "Power is increasingly defined not by size, but by mobility and swiftness. The advantage increasingly comes from information. ... Safety is gained in stealth, and force is projected on the long arc of precision-guided weapons.

"The best way to guarantee peace is to redefine war on our terms," Bush said, and that is why his top-down review of the military is so important. He said he told Rumsfeld to challenge the status quo. "In our broader effort, we must put strategy first, then spending," he said. "Our defense vision will drive our defense budget, not the other way around."

The president broadly outlined where he sees the U.S. military heading. He said land forces would be lighter, more lethal and more easily deployable. The air forces will use both aircraft and unmanned systems to strike across the world with pinpoint accuracy.

"On the oceans, we will connect information and weapons in new ways, maximizing our ability to project power over land," he said. "In space, we'll protect our network of satellites essential to the flow of our commerce and the defense of our common interests."

But all this -- save improvements to military pay, housing and TRICARE -- must wait until the completion of the defense review.

"Vice President (Dick) Cheney often points out that the military itself is like a ship that cannot be turned around in a moment," Bush said. "It has a dynamic and momentum all its own, set in motion by events and decisions long ago, and turning only in a wide, long arc.

"Change will not come easy for America's military and for our allies, but we must know our direction and make our turn," he said. "You can count on me to lead these changes in a spirit of respect and gratitude for the military and its traditions."

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy Gen. William Kernan, NATO's supreme allied commander, Atlantic, greets President Bush at Norfolk Naval Air Station, Va. Behind Bush are Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Henry Shelton. Photo by Jim Garamone  
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